The first US President to have a dog in the White House was George Washington. President Washington was an avid dog lover, and even created a new breed of dog – the American Foxhound.
The recent US Election results will see President-elect Joe Biden’s German Shepherd, Major, become the first shelter dog ever to live in the White House. Joe Biden’s dogs won’t be the first German Shepherds in the White House though; Presidents Herbert Hoover, Franklin D Roosevelt, and John F Kennedy all had German Shepherds.
During the Cold War, John F Kennedy also had a dog called Pushinka. Pushinka was given to the Kennedy family by Soviet Leader, Nikita Khrushchev and was the puppy of a Soviet space dog that orbited Earth on Sputnik 2.
But the White House isn’t just famous for dogs – there have been a number of cats who have lived in the White House as well. Abraham Lincoln was the first President to have a cat in the White House. President Lincoln was quite the cat lover – he rescued three orphaned kittens during the Civil War, and his wife even referred to cats as being one of her husband’s hobbies!
The first Siamese cat ever in the US belonged to President Rutherford B Hayes. She was called Siam and was given as a gift to the President in 1879. Siamese cats have been quite popular in the White House, with Presidents Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford also owning this breed.
A number of unusual and exotic animals have also lived in the White House. Thomas Jefferson had two grizzly bear cubs, John Quincy Adams kept an alligator in one of the bathrooms, and Calvin Coolidge had a racoon called Rebecca that walked on a leash. Theodore Roosevelt was well known for having a number of pets including horses, snakes, a badger, parrots, flying squirrel and kangaroo rats!
Written by Jasmin Weatherley, Veterinary Nurse.
Image Sources: www.presidentialpetmuseum.com/whitehousepets-1/